In this issue: Creative space – Familiarity brings comfort – Great escape? – Life on the water – Happy holidays – Childing for beginners – Visions of you – Into the wild – The eyes have it – Yes day (for grown-ups!)

‘Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess | I thank the Lord that I’ve been blessed | With more than my share of happiness.’ The opening lyrics of what came to be English comedian and singer Ken Dodd’s signature tune, Happiness, might seem overly upbeat – irksome even – in times of personal heartache or global turmoil. Yet even on those occasions when everything seems right with the world, a feeling of happiness isn’t a foregone conclusion.

It’s one of those emotions that seems so straightforward on the outside – how can someone in their dream job, who has supportive friends and is free of financial and personal worries be anything but happy? But external markers of success, regardless of how they’re defined, are no indication of internal happiness or even contentment. And some might even be wary of it, concerned it won’t last or that the price will be too high – happiness at work will surely spell disaster at home. But it needn’t.

Of course, everyone’s notion of happiness, and where it’s to be found, will be slightly different. Bill Anderson, the American country star who penned Happiness, presents opportunites that have little to do with material good fortune – ‘an ocean tide’, ‘the sunshine’, ‘a field of grain | turning its face to the falling rain’.

It can be hard, of course, to feel happy while others are suffering, be they near or far, friend or stranger. It might seem inappropriate, even unkind. But it’s important to embrace happiness when it comes along – life throws up enough setbacks and sadness, after all. So, whether it’s a long, leisurely walk with dear friends, an evening with a much-loved grandparent or, as Anderson suggests ‘a sunset fading on a mountain side’, be comfortable being happy.

Cover Illustration: Hye Park